At this time, you can buy Astelin in brand-name and generic form. The generic version is considered equivalent to the brand-name version of the drug. However, generic medications are allowed to have different inactive ingredients, such as fillers or dyes, which can cause problems for people with allergies.
Is There a Generic Version of Astelin?
Astelin® (azelastine hydrochloride) is a prescription nasal spray used to treat nasal allergies (known medically as allergic rhinitis), as well as nasal symptoms caused by irritants (known as vasomotor rhinitis). It belongs to a group of medications known as antihistamines.
Brand-name Astelin is manufactured by Meda Pharmaceuticals, Inc. However, the medication is also available in generic form.
Availability of Generic Astelin
In June 2010, the first generic version of Astelin became available. At that time, the product (azelastine nasal spray) was made by one generic manufacturer, Apotex Corporation. Another generic version (made by Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd.) was approved in May 2012. Other generic versions will likely be approved in the future.
Is Azelastine Nasal Spray as Good as Astelin?
Generic medications must undergo certain tests to compare them to brand-name medications. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) then looks at these tests to decide if the generics are equivalent to the brand-name medications and assigns a rating to each one.
An "AB" rating means that the FDA has determined that a generic medication is equivalent to a brand-name medication. Generic azelastine nasal spray was given an "AB" rating, meaning it should be equivalent to Astelin.
However, generic medications are allowed to have different inactive ingredients than the brand-name medication. This might include fillers, dyes, or other ingredients that may cause problems for people with allergies or sensitivities.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Meda Pharmaceuticals. Meda has settled the U.S. Astelin® patent litigation with Apotex (4/21/2008). Meda Web site. Available at: http://www.meda.se/english/news/year_2008/meda_has_settled_the_us_astelin_patent_litigation_with_apotex.pdf. Accessed August 20, 2009.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed May 31, 2012.
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